The Art of Aging
In 2008, I was managing a community in Wilmington, North Carolina and one of my residents asked me this question: “Do you know why they call this the golden years?” I responded that I did not know, and he stated, “It’s because I have to use all of my gold just to stay alive.”
He laughed at his joke, but the reality of his answer struck a chord in me. The truth is, getting old is not for sissies and dealing with all the issues of aging is something to be taken seriously. From health-related challenges to the emotional stumbling blocks created by loss and our failure to meet our life’s expectations, we have a great deal to face in our latter years.
Every person with whom I have had the pleasure of serving at my communities has planned on staying in their own home until the day they pass on, quietly in their sleep. Yet, our communities are full of residents, each diligently working to re-invent themselves after years of living in their own homes, cooking and cleaning the way they desire and making decisions that serve their loved ones and themselves.
Now, they are surrounded by lovely strangers, having people much younger and less experienced than themselves, cooking and cleaning for them and worse, dictating the times and fashion of each task they perform. This is certainly nothing like the life plan that they set out for themselves.
This is where, “The Art of Aging” comes into play. And what is the “ART”? It is “Accepting Real Truth”. The truth is that as we age, we will experience loss in the form of physical and mental abilities, loved ones, possessions and physical addresses. We cannot stop time. We cannot prevent loss. However, we can embrace the changes and paint a new picture in which to reside.
Accepting our condition frees us from the struggle between what is and could have been. It permits us to move forward in the life in which we find ourselves and focus on all the good surrounding us. Look around you and see all the new friends you have met at your community. Look into the faces of the young people who have committed their lives to caring for you each day.
See how amazing your life has become now that you can be the center of attention of care providers and family. Even though you have limitations physically, you have the support you need at your beck and call. You cannot bring back those you have loved and lost but there are new people who would love to fill those losses with new friendship and love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Hurwitz is an Executive Director at Osprey Lodge, a charming and beautiful Florida Lodge with modern amenities similar to a cruise ship. With diverse experience in Retirement Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care, he has been successfully supporting ten communities in four states as the Regional Director of Sales & Marketing.